Former firefighter keeps residents rolling
About 22 years ago in Grapevine, the only bicycle center was just 800 square feet and it was owned by 33-year-old Gary Scott, a full-time Grapevine firefighter. Scott opened the Grapevine Bike Center after he realized there was a need for it in the city and felt like doing more in the city he grew up in.
Today, Scott, now 55, still owns the bike center. But it is now housed in a 2,400-square-foot location on Northwest Highway.
The center offers a variety of bikes, including mountain, BMX and kid bikes, and Scott said he strives to provide a quality two-wheeler that's carefully assembled to fit each rider. His store also has an on-site repair department.
"We cater to everyone," Scott said. "We have bikes for kids, amateurs, professionals and for people who just need a basic bike."
A lot has changed for Scott and the bike business over the course of two decades. More than 20 years ago, technology was a lot simpler, as well as most bikes at the time. Advances in materials and technologies mean that bicycles are generally lighter weight and work much better than they did 10, 20 or 30 years ago, Scott said.
"Today, we have bikes that can do a lot more than they used to," he said. "We have mountain bikes, road bikes, three wheelers and unicycles. And we also have electric gear shift bikes that can shift gears automatically. You didn't see that 15 years ago."
Despite the many changes in the industry, the center offers service and repairs to almost all make and models. Services include repairing brakes, chains, wheels, frames and handle bars.
"There's not too much we can't do," Scott said.
The center also offers rentals and information on how to pick the perfect bike, and price selection ranges from $150 to $1,200 or more. Grapevine resident John Robertson said he's a frequent visitor to the bike center.
"They have everything I need," the 17-year-old said. "I can see why they've been around for so long. Their customer service is very friendly."
Scott said 1990 was the perfect year to begin a business in Grapevine because back then, it was easy to set up shop without worrying about losing business.
"Twenty-two years ago there wasn't anyone else here," Scott said. "Now when you look around, there are bike shops everywhere."
In 2006, Scott opened another shop, Bike Center of Mansfield, after he retired from being a firefighter. He said he made the right move by retiring at that time because by 2008, business dragged more slowly when the economy took a hit.
"That was probably the biggest challenge we had to face," he said. "But we came in every day and we survived."
After two decades, Scott said, he does not have any plans to leave Grapevine. It would be nice to be the No. 1 bike shop in America, he said, but his 2,400-square-foot building is more than enough.
"I've been here all my life and I'm just going to continue to work here," he said. "I'm just a good ol' boy who loves Grapevine."
Grapevine Bike Center, 1106 W. Northwest Hwy., Grapevine, 817-488-2999, www.grapevinebikecenter.com